Elko, a small town in Nevada, is currently facing an extraordinary natural phenomenon that has left residents in disbelief. Tens of thousands of Mormon cricket eggs buried beneath the soil have hatched, resulting in a massive invasion of cannibalistic crickets. The red critters have overrun Elko and surrounding areas, causing chaos and leaving behind a stench reminiscent of burning flesh. This article delves into the bizarre situation and its impact on the community.
A Plague of Biblical Proportions:
Dana Dolan, a resident of Elko, was initially startled when she stumbled upon a horrifying scene resembling a gory crash. However, upon closer inspection, she realized that the ground was teeming with crickets, some larger than her thumb. Dolan described the situation as akin to a biblical plague, highlighting the absurdity of the situation. Entomologist Jeff Knight, who has studied insects in Nevada for years, confirmed that the invasion of these cannibalistic crickets has hit Elko particularly hard.
Chaos and Disruption:
Elko, known for its gold mining and home to approximately 20,000 people, has been severely impacted by the influx of these red bugs. The overwhelming number of crickets has led to an unbearable stench that forces residents to plug their noses while driving. These creatures stick to tires, shoes, and even infiltrate indoor spaces like gyms. Their movement produces a sound reminiscent of rain, creating an eerie atmosphere throughout the affected areas.
Community’s Desperate Measures:
Frustrated residents and workers have tried various methods to combat the invasion, including using brooms, leaf blowers, pressure washers, and snow plows. Unfortunately, these attempts have proved futile as the crickets return persistently. To mitigate the issue, state officials have erected signs warning drivers about slick highways, a popular gathering place for the insects. The constant presence of these red creatures on the roads and barriers has led to hazardous driving conditions, resulting in accidents and near-misses.
Unconventional Measures and Collaboration:
The cricket invasion has also impacted crucial community facilities, such as hospitals. In response, one hospital employed a temporary group called the Cricket Patrol, consisting of part-time employees dedicated to clearing the campus of crickets. Their primary goal is to ensure patients can safely enter the building. Hospital staff members have shown incredible dedication, with individuals from various departments pitching in to help with the cleanup efforts. Medical workers, including those in the cardiology unit, have even stepped outside between patient visits to swat away the crickets.
History of Infestations:
Mormon crickets, which are actually shield-backed katydids, have a long history of outbreaks in the western United States. The insects received their name after devastating the crops of Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley. According to legend, seagulls came to the settlers’ aid by consuming the crickets, earning the seagull the designation of the state bird of Utah. Infestations of these crickets have been recorded dating back to the 1930s, and efforts to suppress them have been undertaken in various states.
Delayed Invasion and Ongoing Battle:
The invasion in Elko this year stands out not for its size but for its timing. The crickets hatched later than usual due to an exceptionally wet spring and snowy winter in northern Nevada. These insects follow a cyclic pattern, with eggs lying dormant in the soil for up to 11 years until favorable conditions trigger mass hatching. Entomologist Jeff Knight, who has witnessed multiple invasions over his four-decade career, recalls a particularly impressive infestation in the early 2000s. Since then, the cricket population had been relatively scarce until 2019.
Enduring the Invasion:
Residents of Elko will have to endure the presence of the crickets until at least mid-August before they eventually die off. Males perish after mating, while females meet their fate after laying their eggs. As the cycle continues, the community remains hopeful for relief from this extraordinary cricket invasion.
Elko, Nevada finds itself at the center of an astonishing event—a biblical-scale invasion of cannibalistic crickets. With their sheer numbers and relentless presence, these red creatures have disrupted daily life, caused accidents, and overwhelmed the town with an unbearable stench. Despite the efforts of residents, workers, and local officials, the crickets persist, leaving the community to endure their presence until their inevitable demise.